Man ‘feared for his life’ after police officer allegedly choked him

Hassan Ahmed was under arrest in relation to assault offences in the northern English city of Halifax

PA via Reuters
People with placards, gathered for a demonstration outside Halifax police station on Wednesday afternoon. A West Yorkshire officer has been suspended after a video was widely shared of Hassan Ahmed, 27, being arrested in Halifax on Sunday. Safyah is Hassan Ahmed's sister.No Use UK. No Use Ireland. No Use Belgium. No Use France. No Use Germany. No Use Japan. No Use China. No Use Norway. No Use Sweden. No Use Denmark. No Use Holland
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A man of Asian descent has revealed he “feared for his life” after a British police officer arrested him, allegedly put his arm around his neck and told him to “chill out or I’ll choke you out”.

An officer from West Yorkshire Police was suspended after the video of Hassan Ahmed, 27, went viral on social media on Wednesday.

The incident drew widespread attention following the arrest of American man George Floyd in May, in which a black man died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly eight minutes.

Mr Ahmed was under arrest in relation to assault offences in the city of Halifax in the North of England on Sunday. He was later released but remains under investigation, police said.

“Chill out or I’ll choke you out. Chill out or you’re going to sleep,” the police officer, who has not been identified, can be heard saying in the video, which appeared to show him with an arm around Mr Ahmed’s neck.

Mr Ahmed is then seen tapping on the ground before he is told to "turn over now", with another officer helping to detain him.

He said he feared he would die during his arrest.

"I was afraid for my life, I thought, ‘That's it, he's going to end up killing me,’” he told the BBC.

"I honestly thought it was my final moments; I was in shock, I was really scared.

"I was just thinking about my family, I thought, 'He's not going to let go, he's going to keep going, he's going to finish me,’” Mr Ahmed added.

"I was in pain, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't feel anything. I couldn't even gasp for air.

"He carried on, then he punched me in my face."

The incident has stopped Mr Ahmed from sleeping and working, he said.

Earlier his sister Safyah spoke out at a protest of about 100 people in Halifax demanding justice for her brother.

Ms Ahmed said her sibling was “shaken” by the attack, and added that the video was “distressing for me and my family members to see”.

"It was a total abuse of power. I felt sickened when I watched the video of my brother and hearing him struggling to breathe under the chokehold of that police officer,” she said.

Temporary assistant chief constable Osman Khan of West Yorkshire Police said the force was investigating the incident.

“We are aware of a video circulating showing the arrest of a man at Spring Hall Gardens, Halifax, on Sunday August 16 in relation to assault offences,” Mr Khan said.

“We immediately reviewed the footage and looked into it as a matter of urgency to establish the full circumstances.

“We have reviewed the actions of the officers involved and a referral has been made to the force’s Professional Standards directorate.

“Our investigation remains ongoing and we have made a voluntarily referral to the Independent Office of Police Conduct. The officer involved has been suspended from the force.”